Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Adventures in reading

Readers may be interested in the following books which have been added to stock at Galway City Library:

An Iliad, by Alessandro Baricco, Vintage
One of the greatest stories of all time is briskly retold. Baricco tells of his realization that the poem "as it has come down to us was unreadable." Well, yes and no. But there's much to be said for Baricco's skilful distillation of Homer into a trim narrative. The story is told as a kind of oral history spoken (from beyond the grave) by the combatants, and by their sorrowing women. Both celebration and condemnation of war, this Iliad manages to speak to yet another generation that needs desperately to hear its message. (Kirkus Reviews).

Three Trios: Poems, by Judith Hall, Northwestern U.P
Brings together, for the first time, translations of two ancient texts. The Apocryphal Book of Judith may be the more familiar one. Less familiar may be the possibility that hidden within this narrative is another older sequence, a pagan one. It is possible that the Book of Judith was such a disguised book of common pagan prayer. Three Trios is composed out of this audacious possibility. "Each book of Judith Hall's has been astonishing, the writing like that of no one else; elegant, resonant, a bright surfacing from the depths of language, experience, and imagination, all conveyed with a sure, original artistry." --W. S. Merwin

Always Astonished: selected prose by Fernando Pessoa, City Lights
"The awakening of a city, whether in fog or otherwise, is always for me more appealing than the radiant dawn over country meadows. A sunrise in the country makes me feel good: a sunrise in the city makes me feel better than good. Yes, because the great hope it possesses brings me, like all hopes, that faraway and bitterly-longed-for taste of not being reality. Morning in the country exists; morning in the city promises. One makes for life; the other makes for thought. And I will always feel, like those great damned souls, that thinking is worth more than living." (Extract)

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